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JOHN  CHARLES  PHILLIPS,  Jr.,  son  of  the  Rev.  John  Charles 
and  Harriet  Welch  Phillips,  was  born  in  Boston  Oct.  21, 1838, 
in  his  grandmother  Phillips's  house,  on  the  spot  where  the 
Beacon  Street  Athenaeum  now  stands.  He  was  a  grandson 
of  John  Phillips  the  first  mayor  of  Boston,  a  nephew  of  Wen- 
dell Phillips,  a  great-grandson  of  William  Phillips  the  Revolu- 
tionary patriot,  and  a  descendant  of  George  Phillips  the  first 
minister  of  Watertown,  who  came  to  this  country  in  the 
"Arbella"  in  1630.  His  father,  who  had  been  settled  at 
Weymouth,  accepted  a  call  to  the  pastorate  of  the  Congrega- 
tional Church  at  Methuen  when  John  was  about  a  year  old. 
Here  the  lad  spent  the  years  of  his  boyhood,  receiving  his 
early  education  partly  at  Mr.  BlaisdelFs  school  in  Lawrence, 
from  which  he  entered  Phillips  Academy  at  Andover  in  1851, 
at  the  age  of  thirteen,  being  one  of  the  youngest  boys  of  his 
class.  He  was  gentle  and  modest  in  his  deportment,  a  good 
classical  scholar,  and  a  general  favorite  in  the  school. 

After  finishing  his  preparatory  studies  under  Dr.  Samuel  H. 
Taylor,  Phillips  entered  Harvard  College  in  1854.  In  addi- 
tion to  the  prescribed  work  of  his  class  he  accomplished  a 
large  amount  of  general  reading,  and  also  found  time  for  boat- 


ing  and  other  physical  exercises  which  contributed  in  no  small 
degree  to  the  excellent  state  of  health  which  he  enjoyed  at 
this  period.  The  writer  of  this  communication  was  his  room- 
mate, and  remembers  walking  with  him  from  Cambridge  to 
Methuen  one  day  during  the  Thanksgiving  recess. 

During  the  winter  of  his  senior  year  Phillips  taught  a  dis- 
trict school  in  the  town  of  Bolton,  where  he  had  great  success 
both  as  a  teacher  and  a  disciplinarian.  Ability  in  the  latter 
direction  was  needed,  as  some  of  his  scholars  were  older  and 
stronger  than  himself,  and  at  first  inclined  to  dispute  his 
authority.  It  is  sufficient  to  say  that  the  young  master  proved 
equal  to  the  situation,  and  not  only  brought  the  school  under 
perfect  control,  but  won  the  respect  and  good- will  of  all  the 
members.  With  this  winter's  stipend  (the  first  money  he  ever 
earned)  he  bought  a  wedding  present  for  his  eldest  sister. 

After  his  graduation  with  the  class  of  '58,  Mr.  Phillips  went 
into  the  brokerage  office  of  his  brother-in-law  Mr.  Alfred  B. 
Hall.  While  there  he  attracted  the  attention  of  Mr.  R.  C. 
Mackay,  who  offered  him -a  place  as  clerk  in  his  shipping-house 
on  Union  Wharf.  Here  he  soon  gained  the  esteem  and  confi- 
dence of  his  employer,  and  the  firm  advanced  him  money  to 
enable  him  to  make  little  ventures  in  the  ships. 

In  1860  he  was  sent  out  to  Calcutta  as  supercargo  on  the 
ship  "  Union,"  Captain  Norton,  and  remained  there  nearly  two 
years  as  agent,  living  at  No.  55  Radha-Bazaar  House  in  the 
native  quarter.  The  outbreak  of  the  war  in  America  occa- 
sioned him  much  anxiety,  and  in  1862  he  returned  to  Boston 
with  the  intention  of  entering  the  army.  But  the  persuasion 
of  friends,  and  the  thought  that,  being  an  only  son  and  his 
father  in  delicate  health,  his  first  duty  lay  at  home,  led  him 
to  send  a  substitute  to  the  war.  He  afterwards,  however, 
regretted  that  he  had  not  gone  himself. 

In  1864  Mr.  Phillips  was  sent  to  England  to  sell  a  vessel, 
and  the  following  year  he  formed  a  partnership  with  the 
eldest  son  of  his  former  employer,  under  the  firm  of  William 
Mackay  &  Co.  (afterwards  Mackay  &  Phillips),  for  the  trans- 
action of  a  general  commission  business  in  New  York.  Soon 
after  this  he  made  two  business  voyages  to  Cuba.  The  new 
enterprise  was  fairly  remunerative,  but  not  sufficiently  so 
to  warrant  its  continuance  many  years,  and  he  consequentl}' 
started  the  new  firm  of  John  C.  Phillips  &  Co.,  in  conjunction 
with  Messrs.  Floyd  &  Stevens,  who  had  been  previously  asso- 
ciated with  him  in  the  Eastern  trade.  Their  dealings  were 
chiefly  with  China  and  Manilla.  He  remained  in  active  busi- 
ness until  a  few  months  before  his  death. 

William  Phillips,  a  distant  relative,  having  taken  a  fancy 
to  him  upon  a  slight  acquaintance  formed  at  sea,  offered  to 
give  him  $50,000,  saying  that  if  his  business  was  not  satis- 
factory this  sum  might  help  him  to  make  it  more  so.  John 
wrote  him  in  reply  that  his  business  was  perfectly  satisfac- 
tory. His  generous  relative,  however,  gave  him  the  money, 
and  in  addition  offered  to  settle  $50,000  more  on  his  wife 
should  he  decide  to  marry.  In  1873  this  gentleman  died  un- 
married and  left  our  friend  a  large  fortune  in  trust.  He  had 
clung  to  the  old  English  custom  of  leaving  his  property  to  a 
male  relative  bearing  the  family  name.  As  there  was  not  a 
Phillips  among  his  first  or  second  cousins,  and  as  his  third 
cousin  was  John's  father,  who  did  not  need  additional  property, 
he  resolved  to  make  his  fourth  cousin  heir  to  his  estate. 
William  Phillips  was  a  Harvard  graduate,  but  had  never  had  a 
home  of  his  own,  having  roamed  extensively  over  the  world 
without  forming  any  special  friendships  or  acquaintances. 
Part  of  his  fortune  he  had  inherited  from  his  father,  and  part 
from  his  cousin  Edward  Phillips.  He  died  in  Santa  Cruz,  hav- 

ing  been  attended  by  an  English  clergyman  and  the  consul, 
who  signed  the  necessary  papers  as  witnesses. 

In  1874,  soon  after  inheriting  this  fortune,  Mr.  Phillips 
sailed  for  Europe,  and  was  married  in  London  the  following 
year,  October  23,  to  Anna,  daughter  of  Alanson  Tucker, 
Esq.,  of  Boston.  The  ceremony  was  performed  by  Canon 
Kemp  at  St.  James  Church,  Piccadilly,  in  the  presence  of 
a  few  invited  guests.  On  returning  to  this  country  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Phillips  lived  for  about  a  year  in  New  York,  and  then 
decided  to  make  Boston  their  home.  Being  much  interested 
in  agricultural  pursuits,  Mr.  Phillips  bought  two  or  three  hun- 
dred acres  near  Wenham  Lake  in  North  Beverly,  and  soon 
converted  what  had  been  a  barren  hillside  into  a  creditable 
farm.  Here  orr  a  well-chosen  site  he  built  a  fine  house,  in 
which  he  was  accustomed  to  spend  six  months  of  the  year. 
He  also  built  a  handsome  winter  residence  in  Boston,  on  the 
corner  of  Berkeley  and  Marlborough  Streets. 

It  is  gratifying  to  record  the  fidelity  with  which  Mr.  Phillips 
used  the  exceptional  advantages  which  fell  to  his  lot.  So  far 
from  being  elated  by  his  fortune,  he  felt  that  it  was  placed  in 
his  hands  as  a  sacred  trust.  He  made  himself  acquainted  with 
the  objects  of  charity  which  he  intended  to  aid,  and  then  gave 
liberally.  As  an  educated  man  he  was  especially  interested  in 
education,  and  gave  large  sums  to  the  well-known  academies 
bearing  his  family  name  at  Andover  and  Exeter.  He  was 
always  aiding  some  relative  or  friend  at  school  or  college. 
He  bought  a  plantation  at  the  South,  partly  with  the  hope  of 
being  able  to  do  some  good  among  the  negroes  there.  He  was 
a  trustee  of  Phillips  Exeter  Academy,  the  Children's  Hospital, 
the  Blind  Asylum,  and  the  Peabody  Museum.  He  was  also 
a  director  of  the  Union  Bank  and  of  the  Boston  and  Albany 

The  native  modesty  which  characterized  our  friend's  boy- 
hood remained  with  him  through  life  ;  and  many  of  his  good 
deeds  remained  unknown.  All  who  knew  him  would  say 
that  he  had  strong  common  sense,  calm  judgment,  great  self- 
control,  and  a  cheerful  disposition.  He  was  a  singularly  true, 
single-minded  man,  devoid  of  ostentation,  and  earnestly  desir- 
ous to  do  his  duty.  His  business  career  was  marked  by  a 
high  sense  of  honor  and  the  strictest  integrity  rather  than  by 
any  bold  or  brilliant  ventures. 

Although  not  long  a  member  of  this  Society,  Mr.  Phillips 
took  an  interest  in  its  work.  His  death,  which  occurred 
March  1, 1885,  was  caused  by  a  disease  of  the  heart  from  which 
he  had  suffered  for  several  years,  though  many  of  his  nearest 
friends  were  not  aware  of  it.  He  left  a  widow  and  five  chil- 
dren. The  accompanying  engraving  is  from  a  photograph 
taken  ten  years  before  his  death. 





THE  death  of  Mr.  Phillips  at  the  early  age  of  forty-six  is 
a  subject  for  real  sorrow  in  our  community.  With  our  own 
Society  he  had  been  associated  but  a  few  years.  A  lineal 
descendant  of  the  Rev.  George  Phillips,  the  famous  Puritan 
minister  of  Watertown  in  1630,  —  the  companion  and  friend 
of  Governor  Winthrop,  who  came  over  with  Winthrop  and  the 
Charter,  and  catechised  and  preached  on  board  the  "Arbella" 
on  the  voyage,  —  he  could  not  fail  to  take  an  interest  in  the 
earliest  history  of  Massachusetts.  I  remember  his  showing  me, 
with  pride,  an  original  autograph  sermon  of  that  distinguished 
ancestor  and  excellent  man,  when  I  was  visiting  him  in  his 
beautiful  library  some  years  ago.  I  believe  he  had  other 
Phillips  manuscripts,  which  we  may  hope  will  not  be  wholly 
lost  to  our  Collections  hereafter. 

His  later  lineage,  too,  was  of  a  kind  to  make  him  observant 
of  whatever  contributed  to  the  honor  and  welfare  of  our  Com- 
monwealth. His  family  name  is  associated,  as  we  know,  with 
some  of  our  most  celebrated  academies  and  institutions.  An- 
dover  and  Exeter  owe  their  famous  schools  to  the  bounty  and 
beneficence  of  the  Phillipses.  The  Observatory  of  Harvard 


University  was  principally  endowed  by  one  of  the  same  name 
and  blood.  The  statues  which  adorn  our  squares  are,  many 
of  them,  from  a  Phillips  Fund.  He  himself  had  given  the 
generous  sum  of  twenty-five  thousand  dollars  to  the  Phillips 
Academy  at  Andover  at  their  centennial  celebration  in  1878, 
and  an  equal  amount  to  the  Phillips  Exeter  Academy  on  a 
similar  occasion.  And  it  is  within  my  own  knowledge  that 
he  had  supplied  most  important  arid  liberal  pecuniary  and 
personal  aid  to  other  institutions,  at  moments  of  special  need. 
I  was  associated  with  him  as  one  of  the  Trustees  of  the  Pea- 
body  Museum  of  Archaeology  and  Ethnology  at  Cambridge, 
of  which  he  has  been  the  Treasurer  for  several  years  past,  and 
to  which  he  has  rendered  valuable  service.  I  was  associated 
with  him,  also,  in  the  management  of  the  new  Children's 
Hospital,  of  whose  board  he  was  the  Vice-President  at  his 
death,  and  of  which  he  had  been  a  most  efficient  and  liberal 

A  graduate  of  Harvard  in  the  Class  of  1858,  there  are  those 
here  who  can  bear  witness  to  his  character  as  a  student,  as 
well  as  to  his  worth  as  a  man,  better  than  myself;  but  I  can- 
not but  feel  that  our  community  has  sustained  a  great  loss 
in  his  early  death,  for  which  I  desire  to  record  my  personal 


From  the  President  of  the  Board  of  Trustees  of  Phillips  Exeter 

MY  regard  and  affection  for  him,  my  confidence  in  his  judg- 
ment, and  my  reliance  upon  it  have  steadily  increased  with 
our  intimacy,  since  I  first  shared  his  nearer  acquaintance. 

The  relation  which  brought  us  together  —  a  part  as  it  were 
of  the  inheritance  which  came  to  him  by  merit  and  fitness  as 
well  as  by  race  —  gave  me  an  opportunity  to  know  and  appre- 
ciate him,  which  any  ordinary  social  association  would  not  have 
given ;  and  I  had  learned  to  estimate  him  so  highly  as  a  per- 
sonal friend,  as  well  as  a  valued  associate,  that  the  loss  seems 
doubly  irreparable.  His  judicious,  modest,  but  manly  counsel; 
his  frank  and  courteous  liberality  of  opinion  ;  his  ready  and 
unfailing  interest  in  the  duties  which  he  accepted;  his  con- 
scientious fidelity  to  them  ;  and  his  generosity,  as  unpretending 
as  it  was  munificent,  —  are  taken  from  us;  and  I  know  not 
how  we  can  replace  them,  or  how  to  find  united  with  these 
excellences  the  attractive  personal  qualities  which  insured 
affection  as  well  as  respect  and  confidence  from  all  who 
knew  him. 


From  One  who  was  intimately  associated  with  him  in  Business. 

WHAT  I  can  do  is  to  bear  witness  to  the  true  and  noble  man- 
liness of  his  character.  It  is  now  many  years  since  I  first  made 
his  acquaintance,  and  during  a  long  part  of  that  acquaintance 
we  were  in  close  business  relations.  From  the  first  to  the 
last  of  my  intimacy  with  him,  I  never  knew  him  to  act  but 
from  the  best  motives.  His  character  was,  above  all  things, 
purely  unselfish.  He  was,  above  all  the  men  I  have  known, 
the  one  the  least  affected  by  the  outward  circumstances  of 
prosperity  or  adversity  ;  those  might  change  with  him,  but  he 
never  changed,  —  never  altered  his  calm  goodness. 

Looking  back  upon  my  acquaintance  and  intercourse  with 
John  C.  Phillips,  I  can  truly  say  he  was  one  of  the  men  I  am 
the  better  from  having  known  ;  and  while  I  live,  the  recollec- 
tion of  his  friendship  will  be  one  of  the  happy  memories  of 
my  life. 

From  One  of  his  Partners. 

I  HAVE  only  the  pleasantest  testimony  to  bear,  and  can  re- 
member nothing  but  what  was  generous  and  unselfish  in  all 
Mr.  Phillips's  motives  and  actions.  Indeed,  I  often  wondered 
how  patient  he  could  be  under  annoyances  and  disappoint- 
ments that  might  well  have  irritated  and  discouraged  him. 

I  really  feel  as  if  my  best  friend  —  without  the  circle  of  my 
immediate  relations  —  was  gone ;  and  sadly  shall  I  miss  the 
counsel  and  sympathy  which  I  always  relied  upon  receiving 
from  him. 

From  the  Salem  Gazette. 

MR.  PHILLIPS  was  modest,  kind,  and  ever  thoughtful  of  the 
welfare  of  others.  His  ample  fortune  was  freely  used  in  un- 
announced acts  of  generosity  and  friendship.  His  taste  for 
horticulture  led  him  to  the  establishment  of  the  beautiful 


summer  home  on  the  borders  of  Wenham  Lake,  familiar  to 
every  one  in  this  neighborhood,  the  labor  upon  which  has 
given  employment  to  many  hands.  Mr.  Phillips  was  much 
interested  in  arboriculture,  and  was  a  member  of  the  Board 
of  Trustees  of  the  Archaeological  Museum  at  Cambridge.  His 
death  will  not  only  be  mourned  by  a  large  circle  of  intimate 
friends,  but  it  will  bring  sincere  regret  to  all  who  have  ever 
met  him.  The  community  can  ill  afford  to  lose  one  who, 
possessed  of  social  position  and  ample  fortune,  seeks  the  com- 
fort and  happiness  of  others  as  often  as  his  own,  and  who  by 
his  quiet,  unaffected  mode  of  life  is  so  excellent  an  example  to 
his  fellow-men. 

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